Create a stunning rainbow in Photoshop

This lesson will teach you how to create a retro space design that has become popular with James White from Signalnoise. All you need is Photoshop and some free time. In this detailed example, we will create a retro cosmic rainbow, but the presented technique can be used in combinations with any shapes and colors.


This is an excerpt of the final drawing, which will be created in 10 easy steps. So let’s get started.

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1. Creating a document
Start by creating a new document with a size of 2400px by 1600px. Fill the background with dark gray. I used # 191919.

Step 2. Adding Textures
Now we will add some nice old grunge paper textures Old Grunge Paper Textures, which were previously presented on the Fudgegraphics website. You can download them from the link in the archive, and we will only need textures at numbers 3 and 4. First, open the paper texture 4 (Paper Texture 4) and place it above the background layer. You may want to scale it to fit the document. It’s good to have a habit of always converting images into a smart object while scaling them. Thus, you do not risk quality if you suddenly want to enlarge the image in the future. Duplicate the paper texture layer 4 (Paper Texture 4), change it blending mode (blending mode) on Multiply (Multiplication) and set Opacity (transparency) by 50%.

To finish the textures, we will add paper texture 3 (Paper Texture 3) above the layers. Reuse Multiply (Multiplication) as blending mode (blending mode), and set Opacity (transparency) by 50%.

Step 3. Background correction
Now add Adjustment Layer (Corrective layer) Blackwhite (Black and white) to discolor the background. Again, this is the easiest way to do this. Alternatively, you can merge all layers and discolor them using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + U.
Then add Adjustment Layer (Corrective layer)Curves (Curves) using the settings below. They darken the background, which should now look like this:

Once you have completed all these steps, put all the layers in a group and name it “background”. This will help you keep everything in order.

Step 4. Adding shapes
Now that we have prepared the background, we can finally begin to add our geometric shapes. Choose a tool Rectangle tool (Rectangle) and make sure that the option is selected. “Shape Layer” (Contour layer). The fill color is not important, because in any case we will change it through Layer style (Layer style). Draw a rectangle as shown below (approximately 1700px by 180px).

Step 5. Changing the Layer Style of the shape
Open up Layer style (Layer style) for rectangular shape and set the value Fill opacity (Fill transparency) at 0%. Then add a simple gradient Black to White (black to white) under angle (angle) 90about and change Blending mode (blending mode) on Soft light (Soft light).

Step 6. Deformation of the rectangle in the arch
With the rectangle shape selected, select Edit> Transform Path> Warp (Edit> Transform> Warp). Use customization Arch (Arch) and install Bend (Bend) by 25%. Press Enter.

Step 7. Duplicating and moving the arch
Hold Alt + Shift and move the form below. This action duplicates the layer (Alt key), while at the same time keeping it at the same level as the original layer (Shift key). Repeat this step until you get 4 copies of the arch. Select all 4 layers and select “Distribute vertical centers” (vertical distribution in the center) in the distribution panel.

Now group the 4 layers and duplicate the group. Highlight a copy of the group and again, while holding the Alt + Shift keys, drag the layers down. Align the 2 groups vertically and distribute them as you see fit. You should look something like this.

Step 8. Adding colors
Now that we have a simple layout of our image, it’s time to add some colors to it. Create a new layer above the others and select the tool. Gradient tool (Gradient). Choose a nice gradient colorful rainbow (colorful rainbow) and apply it horizontally to the blank layer.

Change blending mode (blend mode) layer on Soft light (Soft light). Choose a dark blue color and paint over the area outside the rainbow with a large soft brush.

AT normal (usual) blending mode (blending mode) the rainbow layer should look like the image below.

Step 9. Color enhancement:
Insofar as blending mode (blending mode) “Soft light”(Soft light) gives a dim effect, we duplicate the rainbow layer to add more vibrant colors. Leave the settings soft light (soft light), but change Opacity (transparency) layer at 40%. Choose an even darker blue and paint the areas outside the rainbow as before.
Now create a new layer and fill it with a dark gray color. Install blending mode (blending mode) on Multiply (Multiplication) and change Opacity (transparency) layer at 85%. Add a mask to the layer and use a large soft brush (the same one we used earlier) to hide the rainbow section. This is done by choosing black as fill and by painting the rainbow. The advantage of the layer mask is that if you paint more than you need, simply select white as the fill color and paint over the areas you want to make visible again. Your image should look like this.

Step 10. Add stars
As a final touch, we will add some star cluster to our image. Go to the Flickr website and download Luca Argalia aka Skywalker79 Chritmas Tree Cluster photo in its original size. Place it on top of all layers. Install Blending mode (blending mode) on Screen (Lightening). Scale and position it as you see fit. Again, I converted my photo into a smart object before scaling.

Add a layer mask to the cluster of stars and hide the edges of the photo, as well as unwanted areas. I also added Adjustment layer (adjustment layer) Black / White (Black / White) to the stars to get rid of all the colors.

Final image
Here it is. The image can be finished with rounded borders and a dark frame. Here is the final space retro design that we created today.

The possibilities are endless
Here is another design option using this technique.

I support you in the game with various shapes, angles and gradients. Dare, have fun and do not forget to show your images to us.

Author: Franz Jeitz
Transfer: Antsyperovich Alexandra
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